Originally Posted by pjp
As stated, I don't know anything about their integrated amps. I was just tossing out a broad-based suggestion of McIntosh integrated amps in the OP's price target. I didn't personally think the combined Aux/Phono was a disadvantage, but thought the optics of it might be less appealing to the OP since a phono input was listed as a requirement. From your experience, how do you think an older used McIntosh integrated amp in the $4k range would compare to the latest available amps in that same price range? Also, which of the older integrated McIntosh amps would be considered the best, and the best value? (Sounds like the 6500 is a candidate).
I have the MC-7106 6-channel amp. Bought it a very long time ago and it was one of the best A/V decisions I've made. I've been through 4 AV processors over the years (Rotel, Krell, Sunfire, Emotiva) with the same amp and I plan to still be using for the next several AV processors in the future. I have 5 7106 channels driving the 5.1 and the 6th channel driving 4 shakers (I use a small Luxman amp to extend audio to 7.1). I could bridge the center channel on the 7106 instead of using one channel to drive shakers, but it has more than enough power unbridged.
I do not pay much attention to the used market, nor do I have any idea what the following used McIntosh integrated amplifiers sell for today:
The MA6800 and MA6850 from the 1990s have excellent reputations for sound quality. I almost bought a used MA6850 from Audio Classics in 2002. I opted instead for a new MA6500 from a local dealer in NJ who shipped it to me soon after we moved to Florida.
The MA6900 is another terrific amp, coming from the same generation as the MA6500. It has additional features and retailed for a higher price.
The MA6600 (all analog), introduced in 2009, would be worth checking out. I almost bought a brand-new leftover in 2017. I decided to purchase one to replace our MA6500. I have long wanted a high-end stereo preamp or integrated amp with remote control of balance. The MA6600 has it. The McIntosh dealer said the MA6600 is voiced slightly brighter than its predecessors (MA6500, MA6900, and earlier). Our conversation about solid-state and tube gear led the salesman to advise me to go with my original desire to return to an all-tube system. He is an honest fellow who lost a sure sale. I ended up with a new Cary tube integrated amp purchased elsewhere and kept the MA6500. I still wish I had a remote balance control, but my ears are very happy.
I have not heard the current generation, the ones with built-in digital sections.
Finally, I would not be surprised if your MC7106 sounds very similar to the power amp section of the MA6500--smooth, rich, clean, dead quiet, and with an expansive soundstage.